** Winner of the Bronze Medal for Modern Historical Literature Fiction in the 2016 Global Ebook Awards**
Angel of Song is a romantic historical fiction novel set in the Great War:
Born into the halcyon era of the Belle Époque, Parisian debutante Angelique de Villefontaine has been shielded all her young life by her influential guardian, the marquis du Bois; and his life-long companion, Madame Dupont. Despite the protection of her mentors, the allure of her ethereal beauty and surpassing talent cannot be restrained, and Angelique's life becomes a frenetic whirl of performance and social engagement, peppered with the seduction of fame and adulation. Though she has a voice of an angel, she is not without her demons.
Unbeknownst to Angelique, her guardian is frantically attempting to bring the antiquated French Military into the twentieth century. Acutely aware of growing political tensions and paranoia sweeping Europe, the marquis' efforts are rebuffed. Despairing, he sends his protégé on a mission hitherto unthinkable. Oblivious to this seething political clime, Angelique embarks on the most important tour of her budding career, only to be turned back by a murder that plunges the world into darkness.
Rendered hysterical by the horrors of war, Angelique rallies to help the wounded. Amidst rumours of an angel whose voice can inspire, soothe and heal, an eminent general makes an astonishing request. And the marquis must use all his ingenuity to protect his ward from enemies, both within their own military and without.
In the particular hell of the trenches, soldiers sacrifice their lives to hold their posts against insurmountable odds; and as the French search for inspiration to counter the nihilistic policy of an implacable enemy, they find they already have a secret weapon—their own Angel of Song.
Anne Rouen—the nom de plume of Lynn Newberry—is the award-winning author behind the successful historical fiction series, Master of Illusion and, more recently, a set of standalone contemporary historical fiction romance and suspense novels set in the Australian Outback, starting with Winter at Medora Downs.
Lynn is a retired Australian country woman, currently living in the North-West region of New South Wales. A graduate of the University of New England, she is a former teacher, dressage rider and cattle breeder. A life on the land, including eleven years in Outback Queensland, has mixed nicely with her penchant for writing romantic suspense in historical settings.
Lynn has recently exchanged her farm for a delightful small acreage on the edge of a village, where she writes full time. As horses and writing are her greatest passions, Lynn now embraces an idyllic lifestyle, since she has time to delve into the historical research she so loves.
Writing as Anne Rouen, Lynn self-published her historical romance/mystery series Master of Illusion with great success, winning four literary awards across the entire set. Book I (Master of Illusion Bk I) and Book III (Angel of Song) achieved Silver (2014) and Bronze (2016) respectively in the Global Ebook Awards for Modern Historical Literature Fiction. Book IV (Guardian Angel), the final in the series, was awarded Silver (2018) in the same category and Bronze (2018) for the Global Ebook Awards Best Ebook Cover.
Lynn has seen continued success with the Global Ebook Awards in 2022 with her Australian Outback cosy romance, Winter at Medora Downs, where she achieved a Gold Medal for the Best Ebook Cover, Silver for Best Suspense Fiction and Bronze for Best Modern Historical Literature Fiction in a contemporary setting.
Lynn also achieved a Highly Commended in the 2011 Rolf Boldrewood Literary Awards for her short story The Scent of a Criminal and a Commended in the 2018 Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Fiction for The Min Min Light.
You can find more information about Anne Rouen and read her blog at www.annerouen.com.
I know I say this every time a new instalment to Master of Illusion comes out, but this one is my favourite!
What I love about Angel of Song comes down to the fact that it truly is history re-imagined. This historical romance story intermingles actual factual events of the Great War with the continued fictional story of the Master of Illusion. So not only is it an entertaining Historical Romance, it's actually quite educational, as it cleverly places the characters at the heart of true events.
Angel of Song carries over the Angel and Elise storyline—the children we were introduced to in Book One—but we have moved through their lives and the historical eras to end up at the cusp of the Belle Époque and the time of the Great War. The book continues to follow their lives through the war up to the time when the Depression just hits, in the usual setting of Paris, France.
The main star, Angelique (depicted on the front cover), is a gorgeous, talented soprano who earns the epithet, Angel of Song. She is the sweetheart of the nation and of most of Europe and its royalty. Her beau, Etienne (the marquis de Beaulieu) is absolutely dedicated to her, despite her flighty and sometimes inappropriate behaviour. She's a handful: a typical diva. So although she can be hard work, she has a magical ability and talent with which to inspire her fans.
Elise (Madame Dupont) still leads us into each development with her diary entries. Her and Angel (now the marquis du Bois) are both getting on in their lives and really centre their work and passion around the success of their talented goddaughter, Angelique de Villefontaine, and their individual efforts for France in the Great War. Madame keeps a good eye on everyone: the marquis, their new makeshift war hospital and the star attraction, Angelique.
The marquis du Bois has mellowed a bit in his old age, and although he is constantly battling with health issues, he dedicates himself to support France and her allies through advanced aviation and weapon design for the war, and other engineering projects with the help of his new Aussie assistant that the War Office sent him: Hugh, the Australian Officer, is a delightful new character with signature Aussie charm and humour.
Their lives and loves and intermingled and complicated, as Madame Dupont and the duc still secretly love one-another, and now their respective goddaughter and son are involved in a passionate affair, too. The theme of unrequited love continues in this book, but it's good to see a few of the young folk find true love.
This novel has so many intriguing elements. There are even elements of the spiritual and paranormal: hints at ghosts and astral travel, which personally fascinates me.
This novel really can stand on its own and is a good read, whether you've picked up the earlier books in the series or not. If you are a Master of Illusion faithful, you will enjoy the continued story-line and the revelations, such as, who is behind the release of Madame Dupont's diaries and letters to the publisher in the epilogue and prologue.
I'd recommend this book to the usual Historical Fiction lovers (think Georgette Heyer), those who enjoy a light romance without uncomfortable and corny sex scenes, anyone who enjoys reading war romance and war fiction, and even those who dabble in the paranormal. Because the themes of the novel are not adult rated, I actually think this would be an excellent book for Young Adults, especially those who want an enjoyable way to learn about the Great War.
I so enjoyed Angel of Song, I'm disappointed that it's ended! As with the other Master of Illusion novels, I became very invested in the characters, and without spoiling anything, there were quite a few moments where I was howling in tears in this book!
Really fascinated by the war setting, and found the suspense and scene-setting/descriptive writing impeccable, as always.
I'd love to see all the Master of Illusion books made into a mini-series. Reading each new novel is like catching up with my favourite TV serial. I honestly love them so much. My favourite book series ever! 5 stars, of course.
The third tale in Anna Rouen’s MASTER OF ILLUSION series can also stand alone, and for readers drawn to historical fiction, intrigue and romance, ANGEL OF SONG is a novel hat trick. Rouen weaves many layers into the fabric of the story — from Angelique’s journey of self-discovery and the complexities of love and loss to the chaos of war and the transformative power of music. While a bit slow at times, ANGEL OF SONG’s well-developed plot and rich character relationships will keep readers turning pages with anticipation.
...read the complete review at UndergroundBookReviews(dot)org!
I loved this book the most so far out of the entire series. Madame Dupont’s character is a comfort in steadfastness. I was very saddened by the ending (by many things that happened in this book). However, everything that happened seemed to fit. It was logical and masterfully articulated, as usual. Not say that there weren’t some surprises here and there! Indeed, some moments shocked me!
Looking forward to reading the fourth installment!